Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets in cities including Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz and other towns throughout Germany.
Rosenmontag traditionally represents the highlight of the carnival season, with schools closed and parades in several cities across Germany. The day also features the Rosenmontagszügen (Rose Monday Trains), a parade of intricately designed floats with a cheeky focus on political satire.
Despite a storm dubbed “Bennet” that led to partial cancellations of Rose Monday festivities, the mood could not be dampened.
— Life in Düsseldorf (@LifeInDUS) March 5, 2019
The Mainz Carnival Association estimated that about 450,000 people followed the parade along the roadside – slightly fewer attendees than usual, reported German broadcaster, Tagesschau.
Below, a participant braves the rain to take part in the 68th Rosenmontag procession in Mainz. (Photo: DPA)
Organizers in Düsseldorf said the number of visitors to their parade was around 600,000. In Cologne, where the parade was given the go-ahead at the last minute due to the weather situation, the number of visitors was thought to be higher than last year. However the festival committee there did not provide an estimate.
Below, a float in Cologne depicts Brexit. (Photo: DPA)
Carnival parades were cancelled in several places because of the weather, including in Bottrop and Hattingen in the Ruhr area, and in Fulda and Seligenstadt in Hesse. In many other cities the parades started later. Augsburg cancelled an open-air party on the Rathausplatz due to strong gusts.
Below, Karneval enthusiasts don waterproof clothes to take part in the parade. Photo: DPA
Meanwhile, during the procession in Aachen, a 24-year-old man fell out of a window and landed on a spectator. Both were seriously injured and rushed to hospital.
Trump, AfD and Brexit popular targets of ridicule
As is always the case, carnival float organizers didn't hold back when it came to targetting the world's politicians. The most popular target was – once again – US President Donald Trump.
Once again, the Düsseldorf parade proved to be particularly political and provocative.
In Düsseldorf the Trump figure held his protective hands over a depiction of the Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman with a blood-soaked chainsaw as a “dirty angel” – a nod to the murder of the Saudi government critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The central theme in Düsseldorf was right-wing populism – with a focus on Italy, Poland and in Germany. One float, which was kept secret until the parade beginning, showed the Thuringian Alternative for Germany (AfD) boss Björn Höcke with Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.
Höcke was depicted as a baby in diapers, as Goebbels held him up, like a father held his son. The motif was hidden under a tarpaulin until the start of the procession.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was shown in a bad light at the parade in Düsseldorf, as this DPA photo shows.
It wasn't all about ridiculing politicians, though. The environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg was shown in another float in Düsseldorf with the motto: 'finally doing something about the climate catastrophe'.
The centre-right CDU's Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was slammed over a carnival joke ridiculing intersex people at an event last week, was shown in an embrace with the centre-left SPD leader Andrea Nahles in another float in Düsseldorf, as this DPA picture shows. The float was a nod to the grand coalition (known as GroKo) that includes both parties.
Across Germany now the clean up is underway after the Carnival.
— Jakob Frohmann (@jakobfrohmann) March 5, 2019
Today is known in Germany as Fastnacht (fast night), the final day of Karneval. However, there is no fasting – there is lots of eating and drinking. Its the equivalent of Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Pancake Day.